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The new Mac Pro: Hands on, and what you need to know

Jason Snell, Dan Frakes | June 12, 2013
What better place than a room full of developers--people accustomed to harnessing as much computing power as they can get their hands on--to unveil a brand new Mac Pro? And so that's just what Apple did on Monday, devoting a large portion of the 2013 WWDC keynote to a product we've long been hoping for--and even predicting. It's a new Mac Pro, not at all like the old Mac Pro, and it's coming later this year.

What better place than a room full of developers--people accustomed to harnessing as much computing power as they can get their hands on--to unveil a brand new Mac Pro? And so that's just what Apple did on Monday, devoting a large portion of the 2013 WWDC keynote to a product we've long been hoping for--and even predicting. It's a new Mac Pro, not at all like the old Mac Pro, and it's coming later this year.

I got a chance to get my hands on one, albeit briefly, on Monday afternoon. It's a gorgeous piece of hardware, though it does somewhat resemble the wastebasket I have in my bedroom. The new Mac Pro is a black cylinder dense with high technology, from powerful Intel workstation-grade processors to two shockingly fast graphics cards to an array of expansion ports.

It was a stunning debut for a product that's unlike any computer you've ever seen. But that surprising design comes with many changes compared to the current Mac Pro. Here's a rundown of the biggest questions that Macworld editors have heard about the new Mac Pro, along with the answers that my colleagues and I know so far.--Jason Snell

When will the new Mac Pro models be available?

Apple hasn't announced a specific date when the new Mac Pro will ship. The company has stated only that the computer will be available "later this year." We suspect that means sometime this fall, but it could be as late as Dec. 31.

How much will they cost?

Apple similarly hasn't announced prices for the new Mac Pro. Macworld editors have been taking wild guesses around the office, with estimates ranging from $2000 to $4000. (By way of comparison, the current Mac Pro costs $2499 for the 3.2GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon-powered standard configuration and $3799 for the 12-core model with two 2.4GHz Xeon chips.) On the one hand, the new Mac Pro is roughly one eighth the volume of the current Mac Pro, and it uses fewer internal components, as well; on the other hand, Intel's newest processor won't be cheap, and the new Mac Pro uses pricey solid-state storage and two high-end video cards, even on the low end.

What's up with that design?
Given that the current Mac Pro looks essentially the same as the 2003 Power Mac G5, any new design would stand out, but the new Mac Pro's design is dramatically--nay, shockingly--different. Instead of the traditional blocky "cheese grater" tower, the 2013 Mac Pro takes the shape of a black cylinder made of polished aluminum.

 

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